Late 1986 and the most played video in my local pub was the Bangles' "Walk Like An Egyptian". All the lads knew people put it on to ogle at the four beauties in the band, and didn't really care a hoot for the song itself. (Okay, I also got quite excited at Susannah Hoff's Rickenbacker guitar.)
The Bangles crashed onto the scene earlier that year with a cover of Prince's "Manic Monday". They had actually already released material to no great success, including the brilliant "Going Down To Liverpool" from their "All Over The Place" LP.
Upon hearing "If She Knew What She Wants" I decided to purchase their "Different Light" album and fell in love with the music - and the looks - of the Bangles immediately.
"Different Light" was very Beatle-y. Even its cover was a copy of the Fabs' "Hard Day's Night" LP cover. Their music was fun, sunny and well performed. They had a more serious side too, shown in the wonderful "Following" from Different Light, an acoustic track written and sung by the group's bassist, the strangely named Michael Steele.
I then received their first serious album (on CD too) the following year, "All Over The Place" which - while still being Beatle'y with its harmonies and three-guitars-and drums-line up - was less commercial than "Different Light". I also managed to track down some rarities thanks to my penfriend who owned a rare vinyl copy of their first LP, which was almost short enough to be an EP.
But the Bangles saved the best till last. In 1988 they covered Simon and Garfunkle's "Hazy Shade of Winter" which seems to have gone unnoticed and at the end of the year released "In Your Room", a song featuring Susannah's sultry vocal at its best. That was a horny number and led me to buy the album "Everything" that it came from in 1989.
"Everything" was a great album, more serious than everything they had done to date and quite psychedelic. It contained great material such as "Something To Believe In", "Bell Jar", "I'll Set You Free" (whose lyrics go straight through my heart) and the smash number one "Eternal Flame". And check out "The Glitter Years"; it would have been a fine single.
It would be a long, long time till we heard from the Bangles again, as Ms Hoffs persued a solo career with limited success. In 2002 the Bangles reformed and recorded "Doll Revolution" which unfortunately failed to attract too much attention. Which was a shame as "Something That You Said" was as good as anything they had released in the eighties. But that was probably it. The Bangles, like so many other groups were a product of the eighties who sounded like a product of the eighties. Time rolls on and times change. Subsequently, "Doll Revolution" found the Bangles treading water and anyone doing that in the music business inevitably finds themselves going backwards.
Still, "Close your eyes, give me your hand, darling..."